One of the islands of Lake Van, Akdamar, along with its Church and Cathedral of the Holy Cross, is an important centre for Christianity. Built as a palatine church, Akdamar Church was established by monk Manuel who was also an architect. The church is dedicated to the Holy Cross and has a cross-like layout. The church is made of red colored cut tufa stone that may change colour depending on the seasons and light.
Many of the carved images and figures on the four walls of the church are depictions of biblical figures and stories. Aside from this, Akdamar has also been associated with a legend involving star-crossed lovers.